Print this Page

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan

In 1939, the Canadian Government, in an effort to play an important role in the imminent war with Germany, conceived a plan to train pilots, navigators, air gunners, air bombers and flight engineers for the Royal Canadian Air Force, the Royal Air Force, and other Commonwealth air forces. Although the original intent of this plan was to keep as many Canadian servicemen close to home as possible to avoid the great loss of life experienced in World War I, what became of this plan was nothing short of remarkable.

The British Commonwealth Air Training Plan saw more than 130,000 personnel from Great Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand graduate from 107 training schools across Canada – a remarkable feat by any standards; one that President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called the “Aerodrome of Democracy”.

Canada was an ideal location to train aircrew as it was far enough away from the fighting, with plenty of land away from towns and cities to build training schools. Dozens of airfields were constructed in specific locations across the country, seemingly random, but with an eye to the post-war years when the airfields would be turned over to the local communities. Many municipal airports were originally RCAF aerodromes.

Author’s note: unless otherwise indicated, the source material for this section comes from the book “Wings For Victory” by Spencer Dunmore.

 


 

Canada’s British Commonwealth Air Training Plan Stations:

Most Elementary Flying Training Schools & Service Flying Training Schools had one or two relief landing fields located nearby. The relief field usually consisted of one hangar, maintenance facilities and a barracks for overnight stays. Some of these relief fields also housed advanced training units for bombing training. The instructors at the EFTS were mostly civilian pilots employed by various flying training schools from across Canada, hired on contract to the RCAF to train the student pilots.

 


 

No. 1 Training Command
Headquarters in Toronto
Elementary Flying Training Schools:

No.1 Malton 1940-1942.
No. 2 Thunder Bay 1940-1944.
No. 3 London 1940-1942.
No. 7 Windsor 1940-1944. Relief Landing Field located at Maidstone.
No. 9 St Catharines 1940-1944. Relief Landing Field located at Willoughby.
No. 10 Mount Hope. 1940-1942.
No. 10 Pendleton. 1942-1945. Relief Landing Field located at Limoges.
No. 12 Goderich 1940-1944. Relief Landing Field located at Goderich South.
No. 13 St. Eugene. 1940-1945. School moved to St. Jean. Relief Landing Field located at Hawksbury.
No. 20 Oshawa 1941-1944. Relief Landing Field located at Whitby, near Camp X.
Service Flying Training Schools:
No. 1 Camp Borden 1939-1946. No. 1 Relief Landing Field located at Edenvale. No. 2 Relief Landing Field located at Alliston.
No. 2 Ottawa 1940-1945. No. 1 Relief Landing Field located at Carp. No. 2 Relief Landing Field located at Edwards.
No. 5 Brantford 1940-1944. No. 1 Relief Landing Field located at Burtch.
No. 6 Dunnville 1940-1944. No. 1 Relief landing field located at Welland.
No. 9 Centralia 1942-1945. No. 1 Relief Landing Field located at Grand Bend. No. 2 Relief Landing Field located at St. Joseph.
No. 14 Aylmer 1940-1944. School re-located to Kingston in 1944. No. 1 Relief Landing Field located at St. Thomas. No. 2 Relief Landing Field located in Tilsonburg.
No. 16 Haggersville 1942-1945. No. 1 Relief Landing Field located at Kohler. No. 2 Relief Landing Field located at Dufferin.
No. 31 Kingston 1940-1944. Redesigned No. 14 SFTS from 1944-1945. Relief Landing Fields located at Sandhurst & Gananoque.
Instrument Flying School:
Deseronto 1943-1945.
Air Navigation Schools:
No. 31 Port Albert 1940-1945.
No. 33 Hamilton 1941-1944.
Air Observers:
No. 1 Malton 1940-1945.
No. 4 London 1940-1944.

Bombing and Gunnery Schools:
No. 1 Jarvis 1940-1945.
No. 4 Fingal 1940-1945.
No. 6 Mountain View 1941-1947.
No. 31 Picton 1941-1944.
Initial Training School:
No. 1 Toronto 1940-1945.
No. 6 Toronto 1941-1944.
Technical Training School:
St Thomas 1939-1945.
Technical Detachment:
No. 12 Toronto
AID Inspector Schools:
Toronto
Administration School:
Trenton
Equipment & Accounting School:
St Thomas 1940-1942.
Air Armament School:
Mountain View 1941-1947.
Equipment Depot:
No. 1 Toronto. Relocated from Ottawa in 1940. Located at Queens Quay until 1946. Moved to new facilities in Weston. This facility closed in 1954. Now Knob Hill Farms.
Repair Depot:
No. 6 Trenton
Central Flying School:
Trenton. Opened in 1940. Still active.
Wireless School:
No. 1 Hamilton 1944-1945.
No. 4 Guelph 1941-1945.
Radio School:
No. 31 Clinton. 1941-1971.
School of Aviation Medicine :
Toronto
Composite Training School:
Trenton.
X Depot:
No. 13 Camp Borden.
Link Trainer Instructor School:
No. 1 Toronto.
Flight Engineer School:
No. 1 Aylmer 1944-1945.
Flight Instructor School:
No. 1 Trenton 1942-1945.
No. 3 Arnprior 1942-1944. Relief Landing Field located at Pontiac, Quebec.
Recruiting Centres:
No. 7 North Bay.
No. 8 Windsor.
No 9 London.
No. 10 Hamilton.
No. 11 Toronto.
Manning Depot:
No. 1 Toronto 1939-1944.
Women’s Division:
No. 6 Toronto.
School of Cookery:
Guelph.
No. 1 Winter Experimental & Training Flight:
Kapaskasing 1943-1944.

 


 

No. 2 Training Command
April 15, 1940 first formed at Winnipeg, Manitoba
April 15, 1940 Training School Number 7 set up in Saskatoon
Elementary Flying Training Schools:
No.2 Fort William, Saskatchewan. Relief Landing Field at
No. 6 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 1940-1944. Relief Landing Field located at Hagan.
No. 14 Portage la Prarie, Manitoba 1940-1942.
No. 19 Virden, Manitoba 1941-1944. Relief Landing Field at Lenore.
No. 23 Davidson, Saskatchewan 1941-1945. Relief Landing Field at Davidson West. School moved to Yorkton, Saskatchewan.
No. 23 Yorkton, Saskatchewan 1941-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Sturdee and Rhein.
No. 26 Neepawa, Manitoba 30 Jan-25 Aug 1944. Relief Landing Field at
No. 35 Neepawa, Manitoba (RAF school re-formed as No.26 EFTS) 1941-1944.
Service Flying Training Schools:
No. 4 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 1940-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Osler and Vanscoy.
No. 10 Dauphin, Manitoba 1940-1945. Relief Landing Fields at North Junction & River Valley.
No. 11 Yorkton, Saskatchewan 1941-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Sturdee and Rhein.
No. 12 Brandon, Manitoba 1941-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Chater and Douglas.
No. 13 North Battleford, Saskatchewan 1944-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Hamlin and Brada.
No. 17 Souris, Manitoba 1943-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Hartney and Elgin.
No. 18 Gimli, Manitoba 1943-1945. Relief Landing Field at Netley.
No. 33 Carberry, Manitoba (RAF) 1940-1944. Relief Landing Fields at Oberon and Petrel.
No. 35 North Battleford, Saskatchewan (RAF school incorporated into No.13) 1941-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Hamlin and Brada.
Air Observers:
No. 5 Winnipeg, Manitoba 1941-1945.
No. 6 Prince Albert, Saskatchewan 1941-1942.
No. 7 Portage la Prarie, Manitoba 1941-1945.
Central Navigation School:
No. 1 Rivers, Manitoba 1942-1945.
Wireless School:
No. 3 Winnipeg, Manitoba 1941-1945.
Bombing and Gunnery Schools:
No. 3 MacDonald, Manitoba 1941-1945.
No. 5 Dafoe, Saskatchewan 1941-1945.
No. 7 Paulson, Manitoba 1941-1945.
Initial Training School:
No. 7 Saskatoon, Saskatchewan 1941-1944.

 


 

 

No. 3 Training Command
Initial Training School:
No. 3 Victoriaville 1941-1944.
Elementary Flying Training Schools:
No. 4 Windsor Mills, Quebec 1940-1944.
No. 11 Cap de la Madeline, Quebec 1940-1944.  Relief landing Field located at Maurice.
No. 17 Stanley, Nova Sotia 1941-1944.
No 21 Chatham, New Brunswick 1941-1942.
No. 22 Ancienne Lorette, Quebec 1941-1942.
Service Flying Training Schools:
No. 2 Ottawa, Ontario 1940-1945.
No. 8 Moncton, New Brunswick 1940-1944. Relief Landing Field at Sailsbury. School moved to Weyburn, Saskatchewan.
No. 9 Summerside, Prince Edward Island 1941-1942. Relief Landing Field at Wellington, PEI.
No 13 St. Hubert, Quebec 1941-1944. No. 2 Relief Landing Field located at Farnham.
Air Observer School:
No. 8 Quebec 1941-1945.
No. 9 St Jean, Quebec 1941-1945.
No. 10 Chatham, New Brunswick 1941-1945.
Air Navigation Schools:
No. 2 Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick 1941-1944.
No. 32 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 1944-1945.
Naval Air Gunners School:
No. 1 Yarmouth, Nova Scotia 1943-1945.
Operational Training Units:
No. 1 Baggotville, Queubec. Relief Landing Fields located at St-Homore.
No. 8 Greenwood, Nova Scotia 1942-1944.
No. 31 Debert, Nova Scotia 1941-1945.
No. 34 Pennfield Ridge, New Brunswick 1942-1944.
No. 36 Greenwood, Nova Scotia 1942-1944.
Repair Depot:
No. 9 St Johns, Quebec.
Wireless School:
No. 1 Moncton, New Brunswick 1940-1944.
Bombing & Gunnery Schools:
No. 9 Mount Joli, Quebec 1941-1945.
General Reconnecence School:
No. 1 Summerside, Prince Edward Island 1942-1945.
No.31 Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island 1941-1944.
Equipment Depot:
No. 12 Montreal, Quebec.
Equipment Unit:
No. 17 Ottawa, Ontario.
No. 18 Moncton, New Brunswick.
School of Aeronautical Engineering:
Montreal, Quebec.
Technical Detachment:
No. 14 Ottawa, Ontario.
No. 17 Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Movements Group:
No. 11 Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Y Depots:
No. 1 Moncton, New Brunswick.
RAF Personnel Depot:
No. 31 Moncton, New Brunswick 1941-1945.
Manning Depots:
No. 4 Quebec, Quebec.
No. 5 Lachine, Quebec.
Recruit Depots:
No. 12 Ottawa, Ontario.
No. 13 Montreal, Quebec.
No. 14 Quebec City, Quebec.
No. 15 Moncton, New Brunswick.
No. 16 Halifax, Nova Scotia.
Womens Division:
No. 7 Rockcliffe, Ontario.
Officer Training School:
No. 1 Ste Marguerite, Quebec 1943-1944.

 


 

No. 4 Training Command
April 29, 1940 first formed at Regina, Saskatchewan
October 1, 1941 moved to Calgary Alberta
Initial Training Schools:
No. 2 Regina Saskatchewan.
No. 4 Edmonton, Alberta.
Elementary Flying Training Schools:
No. 5 Lethbridge, Alberta 1940-1941. School moved to High River, Alberta June 1941.
No. 5 High River, Alberta 1941-1945. Relief Landing Field at Frank’s Lake.
No. 8 Vancouver, B.C. 1940-1941.
No. 15 Regina, Saskatchewan 1941-1944. Relief Landing Field at Brora.
No. 16 Edmonton, Alberta 1940-1942. Relief Landing Field at
No. 18 Boundary Bay, B.C. 1941-1945. Relief Landing Field at Langley.
No. 24 Abbotsford, B.C. 1943-1944. Relief Landing Field at Sumas.
No. 25 Assiniboia, Saskatchewan Jan-July 1944. Relief Landing Field at Lethburn.
No. 31 De Winton, Alberta (RAF school) 1941-1944. Relief Landing Field at Gladys & Shepard.
No. 32 Bowden, Alberta (RAF school) 1941-1944. Relief Landing Field at Netook.
No. 33 Caron, Saskatchewan (RAF school) 1942-1944. Relief Landing Field at Boharm.
No. 34 Assiniboia, Saskatchewan (RAF school incorporated into No. 25) 1942-1944. Relief Landing Field at Lethburn.
No. 36. Pearce, Alberta (RAF school) March-Aug 1942. Relief Landing Field at
Service Flying Training Schools:
No. 3 Calgary, Alberta 1940-1945. Relief Landing Field at Shepard & Gladys.
No. 7 Fort Macleod, Alberta 1940-1944. Relief Landing Field at Granum.
No. 8 Weyburn, Saskatchewan Jan-June 1944. Relief Landing Field at Halbrite.
No. 15 Claresholm, Alberta 1941-1945. Relief Landings Field at Woodhouse & Pultney.
No. 19 Vulcan, Alberta 1943-1945. Relief Landing Fields at Ensign & Champion.
No. 32 Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan (RAF school) 1940-1944. Relief Landing Fields at Buttress and Burdick.
No. 34 Medicine Hat, Alberta (RAF school) 1941-1944. Relief Landing Fields at Holsom & Whitla.
No. 36 Penhold, Alberta (RAF school) 1941-1944. Relief Landing Fields at Inisifail & Blackfalds.
No. 37 Calgary, Alberta (RAF) 1941-1944. Relief Landing Fields at Airdire & Inverlake.
No. 38 Estevan, Saskatchewan (RAF School) 1941-1944. Relief Landing Fields at Shand, Outram and Chandler.
No. 39 Swift Current, Saskatchewan 1941-1944. Relief Landing Fields at St Aldwyn and Wymark.
No. 41 Weyburn, Saskatchewan (RAF school incorporated into No. 8) 1942-1944. Relief Landing Field at Halbrite.
Flying Instructor School:
No. 2 Vulcan, Alberta 1942-1943. Moved to Pearce, Alberta.
Operational Training Squadron (WAC):
No. 13 Sea Island, B.C. (moved to Patricia Bay, B.C. November 1940)
Operational Training Unit (WAC):
No. 3 Patricia Bay & Jericho Beach, B.C. 1942-1945.
No. 5 Boundary Bay, B.C. & Abbottsford, B.C. 1942-1945.
No. 6 Patricia Bay, B.C. 1941-1942.
No. 6 Comox, B.C. 1942 -1944.
No. 32 Patricia Bay, B.C. (RAF school incorporated into No.3) 1944, part of post-war RCAF.
Air Observers Schools:
No. 2 Edmonton, Alberta
No. 3 Regina, Saskatchewan (moved to Pearce, Alberta in September 1942).
Wireless School:
No. 2 Calgary, Alberta 1940-1945.
Bombing and Gunnery Schools:
No. 2 Mossbank, Saskatchewan 1940-1944.
No. 8 Lethbridge, Alberta 1941-1944.
Radio Mechanics Depot:
University of British Columbia 1941-1943.
Repair Depot:
No. 3 Vancouver, BC 1937-1945.
No. 22 Sea Island, BC 1944-1945.

Permanent link to this article: http://militarybruce.com/abandoned-canadian-military-bases/the-british-commonwealth-air-training-plan/

3 comments

  1. Neville Sevicke-Jones

    Greetings Today is Anzac Day, April 25th,,,maybe not at all well known in Canada but perhaps The National Day in NZ and very significant also in Australia. My father’s father went to Gallipoli but was invalided out and came home on the hospital ship “Maheno”.

    My father William Arthur Sevicke-Jones, NZ429050 LAC Jones W A S went to Canada as part of the Empire Training Scheme. I have his log book here which is date stamped Oct 1 1943 No 3 Wireless School Winnipeg.
    He also spent time at No5 B&G School at Dafoe, from 4-10-43 til 15-11-43, qualifying as a W Op /Air Gunner.
    At that stage the OC Dafoe was R L Stone

    The log book shows him starting at AOS Malton Ont on Nov 22 1943. The log book is marked “ceased flying AOS Malton” Mar 2 1944. I cannot identify the CSO Malton from the signature.

    June 6 1944 saw him flying from Whenuapai Base just north of Auckland to Nasauri,,,( at a guess in Fiji)
    From then on, with some short flights back to Auckland from various islands in the south Pacific, he spent most of his time on convoy escort, submarine patrol, bombing exercises etc in Catalinas. I am not sure what squadron he served with but at a guess No 5 RNZAF.
    In late September 1945 the last entry is made as a passenger back from New Caledonia. It is interesting that for most of my father’s service in the Pacific, he always flew with F/O Horgan..about whom I know nothing. The serial numbers of all the PBYs he flew in are also recorded, as are those of the Ansons and Bolingbrokes he trained in at Dafoe.

    There is a Catalina based here at Bell Block ( New Plymouth ) airport and on rare occasions it flies over the city with its distinctive engine noise.

    I hope you find this at least mildly interesting as another small piece in a huge jigsaw.

    Best wishes

    Neville Sevicke-Jones

    1. Bruce Forsyth

      Thank you for stopping by my web site and for sharing your story.

    2. Kaylee

      You know what, I’m very much incienld to agree.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>